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Tuesday, 17 January 2017 11:17

High Range DUI

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There are three different levels of drink driving for an Queensland open licence driver:

 

Low - .05-.099

Mid - .1-.149

High - .15 and above

 

If you are charged with a high range drink driving charge in Queensland (also known as DUI or UIL) the mandatory minimum disqualification, for a first time offender, is 6 months. Obviously your penalty will vary based on your exact alcohol reading, your traffic history, personal circumstances and the Magistrate handling your case. For more information see our link www.drivinglaw.com.au/services/drink-driving.html

 

Whilst it is a given that someone charged with a high range drink driving charge is going to get a more severe penalty than that of a low or mid-range offender there is also other repercussions that result from a high range drink driving charge.

 

You will not be able to apply for a work licence

 Work licences can only available to low to mid-range drink drivers. Regardless of your situation there is no way around this. There are other requirements you must meet to be eligible. For more information on this please see www.drivinglaw.com.au/services/work-licences.html

 

 

You will be subject to an Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device

Anyone charged in Queensland with a high range drink driving charge (or 2 low or mid-range drink driving charges within 5 years) will be subject to having an alcohol ignition interlock device fitted to their vehicle at the conclusion of their suspension. The alcohol ignition interlock device is similar to a breath test device and is connected to your vehicles ignition. You must blow into with a zero alcohol limit before your vehicle will start. You will need to have the alcohol ignition interlock device for a minimum of 1 year.

The alcohol ignition interlock device needs to be installed by an approved provider and costs vary depending on your vehicle size and if you are a pensioner.  You will incur the costs associated with the rental, installation, servicing and removal of the interlock from your nominated vehicle. 

If at the end of your suspension period you decide not to have an alcohol ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, you will be unable to drive for a further 2 years from the date your Court suspension ended.

Whilst there are grounds for an exemption, there are few and it is difficult to obtain. Grounds of exemption can be if you are residing in a remote location (over 150kms from an alcohol ignition interlock installer) or living on an island, have a medical condition preventing you from being able to use the device or you have extenuating circumstances. Please note that extenuating circumstances cannot be that you are unable to install the interlock for employment or financial reasons. 

If you are facing a high range drink driving charge it is important to have an experienced Lawyer represent you to ensure you obtain the absolute shortest suspension period and fine possible.

 

Getting legal representation

Here at Clarity Law we represent drink driving charges in Courts across South East Queensland every day, it is this experience, and our expertise that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the process and the Magistrates like we do.  We also offer the most competitive prices in Queensland that are all fixed fee so there are no nasty surprises when you receive your invoice.  Every week we appear in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast courts helping clients with drink driving offences.

For more information visit our drink driving page or call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week

 

Disclaimer:

The information provided is for informational use only, and are in no way intended to constitute legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship, and you should not act or rely upon any information appearing in this article without seeking the advice of a lawyer. Moreover, because the law is constantly changing, the information appearing in this article are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date.  Steven and Clarity law only undertake matters in Queensland.

 

Clarity Law's liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

Sunday, 13 November 2016 11:49

Driving children under a Special Hardship Licence

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We often get calls from people needing a special hardship licence for work purposes who also desire to be able to drive their children to school or other activities under that hardship licence.

First a bit of background, a special hardship licence or special hardship order is a licence that may be available to people who exceed their demerit points, elect to go on a 12 month good driving behaviour period and then during that period incur further demerit points.  In those circumstances unless a person applies for a special hardship licence then they will have their licence suspended for a minimum of 6 months and be unable to drive.  A person who has their licence suspended for exceeding the speed limit by more than 40 km/h (a high speed suspension) may also be eligible to apply for a special hardship licence. For more information about special hardship licences see our webpage - www.drivinglaw.com.au/hardship-licences.html

The special hardship licence is only available to people who are on a Queensland open or provisional licence and who have in the previous 5 years not had a licence suspension or disqualification (excluding SPER suspensions).

The special hardship licence is available where if the court were not to grant the order the applicant or their family would;

1.       suffer extreme hardship by depriving them of the means of earning a living; or

2.       suffer severe and unusual hardship for some other reason

To apply for a special hardship licence a person must lodge affidavits for themselves and their employer (if they are not self-employed) and must appear in their local court before a Magistrate to argue for the special hardship licence to be granted. For information on the timeline of a special hardship application see our previous article www.drivinglaw.com.au/blog/item/6-special-hardship-application-time-frames.html

In most cases it is relatively easy to establish that a person would suffer financial hardship if they lost their licence and as a result could not work.  What is much tougher is being able to establish that a person would suffer severe and unusual hardship if they could not drive their children to school or other activities.

It is important to note that a special hardship licence is not a licence to be able to drive whenever a person desires, the order for the special hardship licence, if granted by the Magistrate, will restrict the hours, days, reasons and places a person can drive.  The order will also restrict who a person can have in the car with them.  Therefore to be able to drive children a person would need to first convince the court that they or their family would suffer severe and unusual hardship if not able to drive the children and if that is established then the court will need to specify exactly where and when the children could be driven.

The general attitude of most Queensland Magistrates is that they will not grant a person the ability to drive their children to school or other activities. To be able to convince the Magistrate to grant the right to drive children to school generally a person would have to prove that;

1.        There is no public transport available to transport the children to school;

2.       There is no one else who could drive the children i.e a partner or family member (further Affidavits on behalf of these people may be required in some circumstances);

3.       The hours the parents work is such that driving the children to school is the only viable option to get them to school; or

4.       The children have special needs that means driving them to school is the only option.

 

When it comes to being able to drive the children to sporting or other activates the courts are even more reluctant to allow this.  Generally a person would only be able to drive their children to these activities if they could prove that

1.       The children have special needs such that the sporting or other activities help with or

2.       The children are competing at such a high level that if the parents cannot drive them they are likely to suffer severe and unusual hardship

 

The court would be looking for affidavit evidence from a doctor or a coach confirming the need to drive the children.

Due to the complexity of special hardship licence application, especially when requesting the licence to cover children’s needs it is important to engage a professional to represent you.

Clarity Law is Queensland’s leading traffic law firm covering every court is South East Queensland.

We undertake special hardship applications in Courts across South East Queensland every day, it is this experience, and our expertise that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the process and the Magistrates like we do.  We also offer the most competitive prices in Queensland that are all fixed fee so there are no nasty surprises when you receive your invoice.  If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

For more information visit our drink driving page or call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week

Disclaimer:

The information provided is for informational use only, and are in no way intended to constitute legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship, and you should not act or rely upon any information appearing in this article without seeking the advice of a lawyer. Moreover, because the law is constantly changing, the information appearing in this article are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date.  Steven and Clarity law only undertake matters in Queensland.

 

Clarity Law's liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

A QP9 (Queensland Police Form 9 or police court brief) is a document prepared by the Police Prosecutions unit when someone is charged with an offence. The QP9 lists the exact charge with a brief description of the facts which the Police are alleging against you as well as attaching any criminal or traffic history. Depending on what Court your matter is to be heard in, and how busy the Police are, the document will be provided prior to your Court date or at Court.

It is essential to carefully go over the QP9 prior to entering a plea before the Court, as you are not only pleading guilty to the charge but also to all the facts and circumstances surrounding the charge that the Police allege in the QP9, this may include the way you acted towards the Police, things that you said or admitted or information recorded by the Police that you may believe is incorrect or inaccurate. This should be remembered when being charged as harsher penalties or less leniency can apply if the document states that you were rude, unruly, unhelpful etc. Also being aggressive when being charged can easily result in a further charge of resisting arrest or obstructing or assaulting police.

Obtaining the QP9 or having a Lawyer obtain the document for you and having a thorough look over the QP9 before you enter your plea is essential so that if there is any discrepancies they are looked into.

In Court the Police will read out the charge and a brief rundown of their version of events from the QP9. It is then that your Lawyer, or yourself if you are self-represented, can have your say to the Magistrate. If there are significant factors from the QP9 in which you disagree with it may be possible to draft submissions and put them forward to the Police Prosecutions asking them to reconsider the charge or amend what is written in the QP9. A Lawyer can advise you as to the possibility of making submissions and if what the likely chances of the Prosecutor accepting them would be.

Some examples of our success in getting the Police Prosecutions to lower or dismiss charges are:

  • 1.       Our client was charged with dangerous driving whist effected by alcohol and drink driving. A person cannot be charged with both offences, only one or the other. We addressed this with the Police Prosecutions and the result was the charge of drink driving was withdrawn.

 

  • 2.       Our client was charged with unlicenced driving. At the time that the letter had come from Queensland Transport telling our client his licence was suspended our client had been suffering an extremely traumatic string of events. On these grounds we were able to convince the Police to withdraw the unlicenced driving charge.

 

  • 3.       Our client was charged with driving under the influence of drugs, being the higher of the two drug driving charges. Upon receiving the drug analysis certificate and after going over the QP9 document we were able to have the Police agree to downgrade the charge to driving with a relevant drug in the client’s system.

 

In more serious matters it is possible to request a full brief of evidence. This document is like a QP9 but much more detailed and will include any witness statements, CCTV or audio footage. Where applicable it is also possible to request any Police body camera or police vehicle camera footage that may be available.

Needless to say engaging a Lawyer to represent you ensures that all avenues are explored to ensure all aspects are covered and you ultimately receive the absolute best outcome possible.

Here at Clarity Law we appear in the Courts with clients all over South East Queensland. It is this experience that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the Magistrates like we do.  We also offer the most competitive prices for representation in Queensland click here to see what we will charge.  If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm.

 

 

Disclaimer:

The information provided is for informational use only, and are in no way intended to constitute legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship, and you should not act or rely upon any information appearing in this article without seeking the advice of a lawyer. Moreover, because the law is constantly changing, the information appearing in this article are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date.  Steven and Clarity law only undertake matters in Queensland.

 

Clarity Law's liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

Whist careless driving (also known as driving with undue care and attention) and dangerous driving charges can result from similar circumstances this is not the case with the penalties with the potential penalty for dangerous driving being much more serious. Both charges can be accompanied with a drink or drug driving charge if the driver tests positive.

 

Careless driving is the less serious of the two charges as it is traffic charge, not a criminal charge, although it can still be punishable with a jail sentence. Depending on circumstances it is possible to obtain a result of no disqualification being put on your licence, although it does carry a mandatory loss of 3 demerit points if you plead guilty or are deemed to be guilty. Should you be on a good driving behaviour period and the 3 point loss will breach it you may be eligible for a special hardship licence – for more information see our website - http://drivinglaw.com.au/hardship-licences.html

 

Careless driving charges can come about from an incident as minor as skidding in the wet and your car hitting a gutter or a tree or having a collision due to being distracted by the radio or attending to an item they may have dropped.  Careless driving can also include accidents with pedestrians or other road users resulting in injuries to those people.  Drivers charged with this are believed to have been not paying enough attention to the road, not actually driving what is deemed to be 'dangerous'.  

 

Dangerous driving is the higher of the two charges and is in fact one of the few traffic related charge which is a criminal charge.

 

Dangerous driving charges occur when a driver was deemed to have driver a motor vehicle dangerously.  In deciding whether the driving was dangerous the court looks at the speed the vehicle was driven and whether the driving was dangerous to the public having regard to all the circumstances including:

 

(a)   the nature, condition and use of the place; and

(b)   the nature and condition of the vehicle; and

(c)    the number of persons, vehicles or other objects that are, or might reasonably be expected to be, in the place; and

(d)   the concentration of alcohol in the drivers blood; and

(e)   the presence of any other substance in the drivers body.

 

It is always a good idea to seek legal advice if you are charged with either careless driving but especially so for a dangerous driving charge.

 

Depending on the circumstances of a dangerous driving charge, witnesses, damage etc it can be possible to case conference/ put submissions to the Police Prosecutions to have the charge lowered to careless driving if there are reasonable grounds. This is assessed by obtaining the police court brief.

 

For more information see our website  - www.drivinglaw.com.au/dangerous-driving.html

 

Here at Clarity Law we represent driving charges in Courts across South East Queensland every day, it is this experience, and our expertise that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the process and the Magistrates like we do.  We also offer the most competitive prices in Queensland that are all fixed fee so there are no nasty surprises when you receive your invoice.  If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week

 

Disclaimer:

The information provided is for informational use only, and are in no way intended to constitute legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship, and you should not act or rely upon any information appearing in this article without seeking the advice of a lawyer. Moreover, because the law is constantly changing, the information appearing in this article are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date.  Steven and Clarity law only undertake matters in Queensland.

 

Clarity Law's liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

 

 

Monday, 25 July 2016 14:47

Unlicenced Driving

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The penalties handed down for unlicenced driving charges can vary greatly depending on the circumstances on how you came to be unlicenced in the first place.

If you forgot to renew your licence or you have never held a licence

The penalty for this type of unlicenced driving charge is at the Magistrates discretion and in most circumstances, depending how long your licence had been expired or your traffic history, can result in no suspension being put on your licence and you just receiving a small fine.   There are however circumstances where if you were never licenced that the court will impose a 3 month disqualification.

However, if you have received an unlicenced driving charge in the past 5 years and are caught again then there is a penalty of between 1 to 6 months.

If you had a SPER debt and failed to pay it

Often people refer their fines to SPER to pay off. When SPER received the debt a payment agreement is made between SPER and yourself. Should you fail to honour the agreement and make the agreed payments your licence will be suspended for anywhere between 1 to 6 months. The mandatory minimum suspension time is the 1 month if you were caught driving on a SPER suspended licence and the Magistrate has no choice but to suspend your licence. In these types of unlicenced driving charges the fact that you did not receive the letter from SPER advising that your licence was going to be suspended on a certain date is not an acceptable defence. The Legislation states that Queensland Transport only need to show they sent the letter to you, not that you received it.

If you are demerit point suspended

If you exceed your demerit point limit (12 points in 3 years) you will be sent a letter from Queensland Transport. This letter will give you the option to have your licence suspended for a 3 month period or to go on a good driving behaviour period. If you do not reply and advise them which option you would like to select by the nominated date you will automatically be given the 3 month suspension. If you are caught driving during the 3 month period the penalty is a mandatory 6 month licence suspension.  With this one particular charge, unfortunately engaging a Lawyer cannot achieve a lesser disqualification period.

Failing to have your licence re-issued by QLD Transport after serving a suspension period

If your licence is suspended by the Court you should have handed your licence in when the penalty was handed down in Court. Upon completion of the suspension period you must attend Queensland Transport and have your licence issued again.  Until you do this you are deemed suspended still and if you are caught driving the penalty can be between 1 to 6 months.

Driving during your Court or Police ordered licence disqualification period

If you are disqualified from driving in a Court or are on a licence suspension period by the Police and are caught driving within the time you were ordered not to, it is classed as disqualified driving which holds a licence disqualification anywhere from 2 to 5 years. For more information on disqualified driving charges see - http://drivinglaw.com.au/services/disqualified-driving.html

Many people are unaware that they are unlicenced when they are charged with the offence. This can be due to multiple reasons. Some ways to avoid being expectantly charged with unlicensed driving are:

  • Always ensure that your current residential address is known to Queensland Transport Department and SPER, if you have a debt with them.

 

  • If you work away from home you should have someone monitor your mail in case any correspondence comes to you advising you have an overdue SPER debt, you have exceeded your demerit point limit or you receive a fine.

 

  • If you have a SPER debt that is direct debited from a bank account always ensure there are funds available for the payments to come out from. Also, if you change banks or close a bank account ensure the SPER payments were not connected to that account. If so you need to advise SPER of the bank account detail change immediately.

 

Here at Clarity Law we represent unlicenced drivers in Courts across South East Queensland every day, it is this experience, and our expertise that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the process and the Magistrates like we do.  We also offer the most competitive prices in Queensland that are all fixed fee so there are no nasty surprises when you receive your invoice.  If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

For more information visit our drink driving page or call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week

 

Disclaimer – this article contains general advice only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.  

Wednesday, 06 July 2016 16:41

DUI Charges

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When most people hear DUI they usually associate it with a drink driving charge. Whilst this is correct, as DUI stands for ‘driving under the influence’ it can in fact relate to either a drink or drug driving offence.

 

There are three levels of drink driving charges, being

 

Driving with a low BAC (blood alcohol concentrate) reading of between .05 and .099. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 1 month suspension of your licence (for an open licence holder).

 

Driving with a mid BAC (blood alcohol concentrate) reading of between .1 and .149. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 3 month suspension of your licence.

 

Driving under the influence (“DUI”) of alcohol charge is a result of a reading of .15 or above. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 6 month suspension of your licence.

 

A DUI drug charge means that you were charged with ‘driving under the influence of drugs’. Drug tests search for traces of THC (active ingredient in marijuana), MDMA (speed or ecstasy) and methamphetamine.

 There are two levels of drug driving charges, being

 

Driving with a relevant drug present in your system

This charge is issued when a drug test indicates there is drugs present in the driver’s system but they appear to be unaffected by the drugs or substance. If you are charged with this your driver’s licence will be suspended for a period of 24 hours. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 1 month suspension of your licence (for an open licence holder).

 

Driving under the influence of drugs (“DUI”)

This charge is issued when a drug test indicates there is drugs present in the driver’s system and/or the driver appears to be affected and impaired by drugs. This will be ascertained by the driver’s appearance (eyes, facials expressions etc), behaviour and mannerisms. If you are charged with this your driver’s licence will be suspended immediately. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 6 month suspension of your licence. Whilst if you are sentenced to in excess of this period the Magistrate can take into consideration the length of time you have already had your licence suspended, if you receive the minimum of 6 months, this period will be served in full from your Court date.

 

Driving under the influence of drugs can be a result of illegal drugs, synthetic drugs (designed to mimic the effects of illegal drugs) prescription drugs (Xanax, Valium) and even some over the counter medical prescriptions.  Anytime that you are effected by a substance which alters your abilities in any way you could be charged with driving under the influence of drugs.

A roadside drug test is simply an oral swab which is tested immediately and will indicate if there is traces of drugs in your system. If the test indicates the presence of drugs you will need to undergo another drug test which is sent to a Government laboratory for testing.  You will receive a drug analysis certificate when it is available from laboratory testing. If your roadside drug test indicates no drugs in your system, the Police are still able to order you to undergo a blood test if they believe you are under the influence of a drug or substance.

We have been successful in the past in having some drug DUI charges downgraded to driving with a relevant drug in the drivers system by in putting forward to the Police Prosecutions submissions giving reasoning and information as to why the client should not have been charged with a drug DUI and have only received a driving with the relevant drug in their system charge.

Whilst with alcohol there are rough guidelines to how long the alcohol will take to be processed and out of your system there is no such recommendation for how long drugs may stay in a person’s system for. Many people find themselves being charged with driving with drugs in their system long after they have consumed or ingested drugs. Because each person responds to the consumption of drugs in a different manner based on their personal chemistry, past use, type of drug taken, amount of drug consumed, height, weight and other factors, unlike alcohol consumption there is no way in when to tell when the drugs have left your system.

It is important to note that you do not have to be driving your vehicle to be charged with a drink or drug driving offence, you could be charged if you are merely sitting in the driver’s seat.

Charges of low or mid BAC or a driving with a relevant drug in your system, depending on your circumstances and previous traffic history, can allow you to apply for a work licence to be issued to you for the duration of your suspension period. An alcohol or drug DUI charge however eliminates this option.

Here at Clarity Law we represent people charged with drink and drug driving offences in Courts across South East Queensland every day, it is this experience, and our expertise that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the process and the Magistrates like we do.  We also offer the most competitive prices in Queensland that are all fixed fee so there are no nasty surprises when you receive your invoice.  If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

For more information visit our drink driving or drug driving page or call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week

 

Disclaimer – this article contains general advice only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.  We are also not health professionals and our observations on drink driving and what effects a person’s BAC reading is based on our knowledge of representing thousands of drink driving client’s overs the past 15 years and not any specific medical training.

Saturday, 19 March 2016 10:59

Drug Driving Charges Skyrocket

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In Queensland police are increasingly undertaking drug driving tests in conjunction with normal drink driving RBT units. Police officers who are able to conduct the drug testing need to be specially trained in the use of saliva testing equipment and testing procedures. The number of Police that are now qualified to conduct the drug tests has increased dramatically in the last few years as well as the addition of 13 specially built drug testing vehicle to Queensland roads.  There is going to be an increasing amount of drug driving charges.

For example the amount of drug driving tests for the last 3 years include;

2014 - 21,000 drivers were drug tested in Queensland

2015 – 33,000 drivers were drug tested in Queensland

2016 – It has been estimated that over 50,000 drivers will be tested in Queensland

The roadside drug driving tests are carried out by taking a swab of a driver’s salvia.  The tests are designed to pick up the following illegal drugs;

1.       THC – the active component in cannabis

2.       Methylamphetamine – also known as speed, ice or crystal meth

3.       MDMA – also known as speed

A person caught with these drugs in their system will normally be charged with driving with a relevant drug in the system. When you are charged with this offence your licence will usually be suspended for a 24 hour period. Depending on your circumstances and traffic history it is possible to apply for a work licence if you are charged with driving with a drug in your system.

If the driver appears to be under the influence at the time they are driving or is believed to be affected by a drug to such an extent that they are endangering the public they will be charged with the higher of the two drug charges being, driving under the influence of a drug. If you are charged with this offence your licence will be suspended immediately up until your matter is dealt with by the Court. If you receive a driving whilst under the influence of drugs charge you cannot apply for a work licence. Further, if you are believed to be under the influence it is not uncommon for the Police to then search your vehicle for drugs or drug paraphernalia.

It is also possible to be charged with driving under the influence of drugs if you are driving a vehicle with legal drugs in their system, that being legally prescribed medication.  The decision is made at the police’s discretion as to whether they believe the drugs have affected the person to such a degree that their driving was impaired. 

If the police suspect a person has been impaired they may be required to give a sample of their blood for further testing. At the time a blood test is taken you are allowed to request that the Police provide you with a sample of your blood so you can have it tested independently.

A key component to proving the charge in court will be the statement of the arresting officer and their observations of the driver as well as the saliva or blood test results, which are confirmed in a drug analysis certificate.  The blood test will generally report the amount of the drug in the person’s blood as well as any comments from a medical officer as to what impairment an ordinary person would have with that level of drugs in the system.

A refusal to provide a drug test will result in a charge of failing to provide a drug test. This is a serious charge and is dealt with harshly by the Courts. If you are charged with failing to provide a sample you will be dealt with as if you were under the influence.

A person who pleads guilty or is found guilty of the UIL charge is subject to the same punishment as a high range drink driver that is a minimum of 6 months disqualification of their drivers licence and no ability to apply for a work licence.

Queensland has some of the harshest penalties for drug drivers in both fines and suspension periods.   It is critical to get good advice about the charge and whether you might be able to apply for a work licence.  Information on applying for a work licence can be found on our work licence page.

Here at Clarity Law we represent drug driving charges in Courts across South East Queensland every day, it is this experience, and our expertise that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the process and the Magistrates like we do.  We also offer the most competitive prices in Queensland that are all fixed fee so there are no nasty surprises when you receive your invoice.  If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week.  Check out our drug driving charge for more information.

 

 

Disclaimer – this article contains general advice only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.  We are also not health professionals and our observations on drug driving is based on our knowledge of representing hundreds of drug driving client’s overs the past 15 years and not any specific medical training.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015 12:02

The Different Types of Drug Driving

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Similar to drink driving charges which are categorised as either low, medium or high range, drug driving has different categories in which you can be charged under.

If you are charged with drug driving you will either be charged with having a relevant drug in your system or, and more seriously, driving whilst under the influence of a drug.

The drug driving tests look for traces of the following drugs being relevant in your system:

1.       THC – the active ingredient in cannabis

2.       Methylamphetamine – also known as speed and ice; and

3.       MDMA – the active ingredient in ecstasy.

 

Although the police can require a blood test to test for drug driving the most common way to test is through taking a sample of a person’s saliva.

If the preliminary saliva test is negative you will be free to go immediately. If a drug is detected in your saliva (positive result) you will be required to undertake a second saliva test. If the second test is again positive for drugs your driver’s license will be suspended for 24 hours. The remaining saliva sample will be sent to a laboratory and following the result you may be notified and charged with a traffic offence of drug driving. A person caught with these drugs in their system will normally be charged with driving whilst a relevant drug is in the system.

If the results of a drug driving test comes back positive it is irrelevant whether you’re driving was affected by having illicit drugs in your system. This means that for example, if you consume marijuana a couple of weeks before being tested you will still be charged with drug driving if the results are positive (marijuana can stay in your system for up to 40 days). However, saliva tests are designed only to react to the active ingredient of a drug. Therefore the period in which drugs can be detected varies depending on quality and quantity of the drug that has been ingested, the period of time since taking the drug and the frequency of use of the drug.

 

Driving whilst under the influence of a drug

You are likely to be charged with driving under the influence of a drug if you are pulled over by the police and appear to be under the influence of a drug eg. Red eyes, slurred speech, twitchy etc. If the Police believe you are under the influence of a dangerous drug or even a synthetic drug (for more information on this see our article about synthetic drugs) it is likely that they would search your vehicle. Quite often we have clients who are charged with possession of a dangerous drug and/or utensils and drug driving at the same time.

It is also possible to be charged with driving under the influence of a prescription drug if the police believe you have been affected to such a degree by the prescription pills that you pose a risk to other road users.

If you are charged with this offence your licence will be suspended immediately. You cannot apply for a work licence and face at least a 6 month disqualification.

 

 

Having a relevant drug in your system

If you undergo a drug driving test and it comes back positive but you appear to be sober you will be charged with having a relevant drug in your system.  This is the lesser of the two drug driving charges. When you are charged with having a relevant drug in your system your licence will be suspended for a 24 hour period.

If you are charged with having a relevant drug in your system, depending on circumstances, you are eligible to apply for a work licence.

 

This article is written by Steven Brough.  Steven has over 14 years experience dealing with this type of charge and appearing in Queensland Courts.  You can ring Steven on 1300 952 255 or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our traffic law website at www.drivinglaw.com.au

 

Disclaimer:

The information provided is for informational use only, and are in no way intended to constitute legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship, and you should not act or rely upon any information appearing in this article without seeking the advice of a lawyer. Moreover, because the law is constantly changing, the information appearing in this article are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date.  Steven and Clarity law only undertake matters in Queensland.

Clarity Law's liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

 

 

 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015 15:48

Special Hardship Application Time Frames

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A special hardship licence is a type of licence that may be issued by a Queensland Court to persons who travel over the speed limit by more than 40kms over hour (high speed suspension) and/or exceed their points on a good driving behaviour period. There are no other circumstances in which you can apply for a special hardship licence. A special hardship licence allows you to drive during the suspension of your licence (generally 6 months).

A special hardship licence can only be used for the purposes stated by the Court; you cannot use a special hardship licence to drive to the shops, university, or unpaid work experience unless this is specified in the Order. A special hardship licence is designed to allow you to keep your job and continue to earn a living where a driver’s licence is an essential component to you earning that living or for some other specified serious reason.

Depending on which Magistrates Court your application is to be heard in depends when your application will be heard. Some Courts hear Special Hardship Application weekly, some fortnightly and some only monthly. Again, as it is a nominated Court application you may request a date for a month or two away if you need to for any reason.

When you receive a fine which breaches your good driving behaviour period you can continue to drive as normal up until mid-night before your suspension date. However you cannot drive after that time until you have filed your Application for a Special Hardship with the Court and QLD Transport. You have 21 days from the suspension date in which to do this.

The suspension date is allocated by Queensland Transport. When you make payment, part payment of your fine or the debt is referred to the State Penalties Enforcement Register (SPER), Queensland Transport is then notified that you have breached your Good Driving Behaviour period and that you need to be issued a suspension date. A letter is then sent out to you, usually 2-3 weeks after you make payment, part payment or the debt is referred to SPER. The suspension date will be on the letter and will generally be a further 2-3 weeks from when you receive the letter.

If you wish to hurry the process along than make payment or a part payment as soon as you can so that Queensland Transport will become aware and issue a suspension date sooner. If you wish to put it off than do not make payment or a part payment until the day before the fine is due.

It is critical to ensure Queensland Transport has your current postal address as it is an extremely important letter. If you are unaware of your suspension date and are caught driving you will be charged with unlicensed driving.

You can file the Application for a Special Hardship Licence and supporting material on your suspension date, which ensures that you are only unable to drive on that day until you have filed your application and material. It is also good to your application if you do file the application on the suspension date in that it shows that you are unable to go for a period of time without a licence.

If you chose not to file your application for a special hardship application on the first day of the suspension you only have 21 days from the suspension date to file your application for a special hardship licence there is absolutely nothing can be done if you exceed the 21 days.

The application and material needs to be filed with the Magistrates Court closest to where you reside, where you will be issued a Court date. Then you just need to attend the corresponding Queensland Transport office to serve them with copies of your application and material. Once that is done you may continue to drive, as normal, up until midnight before your Court date. 

Having a Lawyer prepare and undertake your Special Hardship Licence Application is critical to ensure that your application is successful.

 

This article is written by Steven Brough one of Queensland’s most experienced traffic lawyers and contains general advice only not legal advice.  For more information on Special Hardship Applications visit the our Special Hardship Application webpage on our driving law website or call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week

Thursday, 05 November 2015 10:30

Why the rule of thumb should not be relied on

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Here at Clarity Law we receive enquiries every day from people who have been charged with drink driving in Queensland even though they carefully monitored their alcohol consumption and the time in which did so. Your BAC (breath alcohol concentration) is the measurement of the amount of alcohol in your blood stream. The legal limit in Queensland, for an open licence driver, is 0.05. This means your body can contain 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.  

What your legal BAC is depends on the class of licence you have. Learners and probationary licence holders have a no alcohol limit which open C class drivers have to be 0.05 or under. For more information on this see – www.drivinglaw.com.au/services/drink-driving.html

Whilst it is commonly thought that the rule of thumb is two standard drinks in the first hour and then one every hour after that for men and one standard drink in the first hour and then one every hour after that for woman this is more often than not inaccurate. This is simply a guideline put out by the authorities and should by no means be relied upon and is not a defence in a Court. As soon as you start drinking your BAC goes up. It takes, on average, 30-60 minutes after you finish drinking for your BAC to reach its peak.

People also forget that there are other factors that might influence your BAC reading;

  • 1.       Is your drink actually a standard serve? Most pre-bottled beers and spirit cans, and wine glasses etc are more than 1 standard drink. In Australia a standard drink refers to 10 grams of alcohol (which is equivalent to 12.5milligrams of pure alcohol).   Listed below is the guide to some popular drinks;

Can of low-strength beer = 0.8 standard drink
Can of mid-strength beer = 1 standard drink
Can of full-strength beer = 1.4 standard drinks
100ml wine (13.5% alcohol) = 1 standard drink

150ml wine (13.5% alcohol) = 1.5 standard drinks (average restaurant serving)
30ml spirits = 1 standard drink

Can of pre mixed spirits (approx. 5% alcohol) = 1.2-1.7 standard drinks
Can of pre mixed spirits (approx. 7% alcohol) = 1.6-2.4 standard drinks

  • 2.       How long have you waited since you finished your last drink?
  • 3.       Have you consumed an adequate amount of food that day? This is a big one. The majority of our clients are surprised when they find their reading was over the legal limit and find it was more than likely caused by the lack of food they had consumed that day.
  • 4.       Your body size and how often you consume alcohol can also come into it effect.
  • 5.       Your health – are you healthy, do you have a liver condition, are you feeling sick or stressed?
  • 6.       Are you on medication that may increase the effects or the way that your body processes alcohol? Whilst this is not a defence in Court, as regardless of whether you knew the medication may affect your alcohol levels, the end conclusion is that you were driving with an alcohol level above the legal limit.

Many people think that consuming water, coffee, food etc after consuming alcohol will assist in bringing down their alcohol level. Unfortunately, the only thing that will bring your alcohol level down is time.

Queensland has some of the harshest penalties for drink drivers in both fines and suspension periods.   It is critical to get good advice about the charge and whether you might be able to apply for a work licence.  Information on applying for a work licence can be found on work licence page

Here at Clarity Law we represent drink driving charges in Courts across South East Queensland every day, it is this experience, and our expertise that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the process and the Magistrates like we do.  We also offer the most competitive prices in Queensland that are all fixed fee so there are no nasty surprises when you receive your invoice.  If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

For more information visit our drink driving page or call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week

 

Disclaimer – this article contains general advice only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.  We are also not health professionals and our observations on drink driving and what effects a person’s BAC reading is based on our knowledge of representing thousands of drink driving client’s overs the past 15 years and not any specific medical training.  Every state has different laws and information in this article refers to Queensland law only.